WRITING STYLE: 4.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5
Home Fire is a novel written by the famous Pakistani British author Kamila Shamsie. Shamsie is known for writing critically acclaimed novels like In the City by the Sea, Salt and Saffron, Kartography, Broken Verses and Burnt Shadows. Her latest, Home Fire was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize of 2017. The book is a modern retelling of the famous classic novel, Antigone.
A brief blurb
Home Fire is the story of young Isma and her younger siblings Aneeka and Parvaiz. They were orphaned young and it fell upon Isma’s shoulders to care for her siblings. Now, after a couple of years, it is finally time for Isma to break free and follow her dreams. But she still worries about Aneeka and Parvaiz. Aneeka is a stubborn and adamant girl who often acts so to her own disadvantage and Parvaiz is in pursuit of a dark dream half a world away. When he is discovered following the footsteps of his now-dead jihadi father, Isma’s happy world is shattered.
In this family, drama enters Eamonn who touches both sister’s lives in a way which will change both of them forever. To make matters worse or rather better, he is the son of the Home Secretary who has the power and motive to change the course of all of their lives. Home Fire is the story of a home set on fire fed by personal vendetta, misguided ambitions, and unconditional love.
“For girls, becoming women was inevitability; for boys, becoming men was ambition” – Kamila Shamsie
To say that the story is touching is a massive understatement. The book tells us a beautiful story of a world that is very different from ours. The plight of the Pakistani Muslim community in England is captured and portrayed very powerfully in this novel. The plot of the story is good and it moves at a decent pace. There are a couple of subplots to add dimension to its characters.
The Characters count the most
The characters of the book are all beautiful. They are subtle and powerful and they all compliment the writing beautifully. For me, Aneeka and Eamonn stayed with me long after I was done reading the book. Even Eamonn’s father – Karamat Lone was a powerful character who was interesting to read about.
The writing style of Kamila
Kamila’s writing evokes feelings of loss and despair. There is a sad undertone which marks the entire narrative and the reader cannot help but feel the same pain that the characters are feeling. Though it cannot be said that the book is a happy novel but it sure is an extremely captivating one.
Was the climax good enough?
The climax for me was where Home Fire lost points. I was mildly disappointed by the way the events took a turn at the end of the story. The last few pages surely did not justify the massive buildup that preceded it.
Despite the disappointing climax, I loved the book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading serious fiction or international fiction. The book for me was entertaining enough to make me rate it 4 on 5 stars.
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